1. “The court of appeals misapplied the egregious harm standard of review for unobjected-to jury charge error under Almanza v. State, 686 S.W.2d 157 (Tex. Crim. App. 1984), in a manner that so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings as to call for an exercise of the Court of Criminal Appeals’ power of supervision.”
2. “The court of appeals’ misapplication of the cumulative error doctrine in its analysis of unobjected-to jury charge error so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings as to call for an exercise of the Court of Criminal Appeals’ power of supervision.”
Alcoser was convicted of assault/family violence, child endangerment, and interference with emergency request for assistance for his involvement in a domestic abuse incident with his girlfriend and their baby. On appeal, he complained about various jury charge errors related to all three offenses and the self-defense instruction. The court of appeals detailed the numerous charge errors, concluded that the “cumulative” error deprived Alcoser of a fair trial, and reversed his convictions.
The State challenges the court of appeals’ egregious harm analysis and conclusion as to the assault/family violence conviction. The State questions how the charge’s failure to tailor the abstract mens rea definitions for the other two offenses caused harm for the assault offense. It also points out that Alcoser admitted committing assault, including its mental state, as evidenced by his entitlement to the self-defense instruction. Next, the omission of the definition for “reasonable belief” for self-defense was not harmful because it allowed the jury to consider Alcoser’s subjective belief and was thus more beneficial than the objective standard. Further, the jury’s rejection of self-defense (with its subjective reasonableness standard) weighs against harm because the central issue was self-defense, not Alcoser’s admitted-to mens rea. Lastly, the State argues that the court erred to cumulate the charge errors for all the offenses instead of assessing harm based on the error(s) for each offense individually.